The Republican-led Georgia state Senate voted to repeal a 2005 law that allowed no-excuse mail-in voting in the state, knocking down a key voting process that allowed hundreds of thousands of people to vote during the coronavirus pandemic, CNN reports.
Georgia, suddenly a swing state after more than two decades as a solid red state, has gone to the forefront of Republican efforts to restrict voting rights after the GOP lost two seats in the US Senate and Donald Trump lost the state in November 2020.
No-excuse mail-in voting was widely supported by Republicans when it was enacted by the state in 2005. However, after Donald Trump lost Georgia, Republicans have worked to reduce access to the ballot box for the states non-Republican voters, who traditionally are more likely to turn out on Election Day.
The effort isn’t limited to Georgia: at least 40 states have seen more than 250 pieces of legislation introduced by Republicans to restrict access to the polls or eligibility to vote.
In Georgia, Republicans has no concerns with access to mail-in voting until they started losing seats in 2020. But in the pandemic era, more voters started taking advantage of the ease of mail-in voting, with Democrats using it more than Republicans.
Under the new proposal, which is likely to pass the state house, voters need to be 65 years old or older, absent from their precinct, observing a religious holiday, be required to provide constant care for someone with a physical disability, or required to work “for the protection of the health, life, or safety of the public during the entire time the polls are open,” or be an overseas or military voter to qualify for an absentee ballot.